Dems Net 11 State House Seats

Jennifer O’Mara defeated Rep. Alex Charlton (R-Delco) by 163 votes.

The era lopsided Republican dominance in the State House is over. Democrats picked up eleven seats on Tuesday, mostly in southeastern Pa.

Republicans – led by presumptive Speaker Mike Turzai, who won his re-election bid – will have 109 members to Democrats’ 93. Regardless, it’s less than half of the party’s current 121-to-82 majority.

Of Dems’ 14 pickups, notably, 8 were GOP incumbents. The other 6 were open seats where the Republican State Rep. retired. GOP incumbents who lost were: Alex Charlton, Becky Corbin, Kate Harper, Warren Kampf, Duane Milne, Thomas Quigley, Eric Roe, and Jamie Santora.

The GOP open seats that flipped were vacated by Reps. Michael Corr, Bob Godshall, Harry Lewis, Nick Miccarelli, Marguerite Quinn and John Taylor.

Correction: PoliticsPA originally reported that Reps. Bud Cook (R-Washington) and Tim Hennessey (R-Chester) had lost, bringing the Dems’ net total to 13. With the final numbers in, Hennessey won 53-to-47. Cook holds a narrow edge after all of the precincts reported, but absentee ballots had yet to be counted late Tuesday.

Republicans meanwhile have some silver lining on the evening. They ousted two Democratic incumbents, Rep. Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria) and Rep. Helen Tai. Tai lost to Wendi Thomas in a rematch of a May special election in Bucks County. The GOP also picked up the seat of outgoing Minority Whip Mike Hanna (D-Clinton), whose son lost by 8 points.

It will be a few months before Democrats field a full caucus. Rep. Sid Kavulich (D-Lackawanna) passed away suddenly in October. A special election will need to be held for his seat. Likewise Rep. Vanessa Brown (D-Phila), who was convicted in recent weeks of crimes related to accepting a bribe.

Additionally, a few races are so narrow that they could conceivably change in the event of a recount or a surplus of absentee or provisional ballots.

The seats that flipped were:

HD53: Democrat Steven Malagari defeated Republican George Szekely in this open district. Rep. Bob Godshall (R) retired from this Montgomery County seat after 36 years.

HD61: Eight-term GOP incumbent Kate Harper lost her Montgomery County seat to Democratic challenger Liz Hanbridge by 8 points.

HD71: The fourth time’s the charm? After 3 previous attempts, Republican Jim Rigby is going to Harrisburg. The former borough councilman and former police officer defeated incumbent Rep. Bryan Barbin (D-Cambria) after losing to him by 182, 187 and 700 votes in previous elections. He won 52-to-48.

HD74: Democrat Dan Williams defeated Republican Amber Little-Turner 62-to-38. Rep. Harry Lewis (R) declined to run for re-election. This was this most pro-Clinton district won by a Republican in 2016. Williams leads the New Life in Christ Fellowship in Coatesville.

HD76: Michael Hanna Jr. lost this open seat to Republican Stephanie Borowicz 54-to-46. Minority Whip Mike Hanna Sr. (D) is retiring after more then two decades representing Clinton County.

HD 143: Democrat Wendy Ullman defeated Republican Joseph Flood 51-to-49 to win this open seat. Rep. Marguerite Quinn ran for the Bucks Co. Senate Seat vacated by Sen. McIlhinney and lost.

HD146: Democrat Joseph Ciresi defeated Republican incumbent Thomas Quigley 56-to-45 in this Montgomery County swing district. Ciresi is director of sales and promotions at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

HD150: Flipping this seat, Democrat Joe Webster defeated Republican Nick Fountain 56-to-44 in this Montco district. Freshman State Rep. Mike Corr (R) withdrew his candidacy over the summer. Webster is a retired Air Force Colonel and is currently the VP of Mission Services at Accenture.

HD155: Incumbent Becky Corbin (R-Chester) lost her seat to Democrat Danielle Friel Otten 55-to-45. Friel Otten has been active in organizing opposition to natural gas pipeline development in Chester County, where the district is located.

HD157: Incumbent Warren Kampf (R-Chester), a perennial Democratic target in this Chesco/Montco seat, lost his seat to Democrat Melissa Shusterman 57-to-44. She founded and runs a digital video production company.

HD158: Democratic challenger Christina Sappey defeated freshman Republican Eric Roe 53-to-47. Sappey is a longtime legislative aide to Chester County Democrats including Former Rep. Barbara McIlvaine Smith and Senator Andy Dinniman. She most recently served as chief of staff for Rep. Carolyn Comitta, who will now be her colleague.

HD162: Democrat David Delloso won this open seat against Republican Mary Hopper 52-to-48. State Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R) declined to run for re-election to this Delco seat amid allegations of sexual assault by two women, including another House member.

HD163: Challenger Michael Zabel defeated two-term Republican incumbent Jamie Santora 53-to-47, moving the Delco seat into Democratic hands for the first time in 40 years. Zabel is a former Philly Assistant District Attorney and is currently is an Attorney at Rawle & Henderson.

HD165: Democratic challenger Jennifer O’Mara defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Alex Charlton by an extremely thin margin of 163 votes in this Delco seat. She is a non-profit executive.

HD167: Democrat Kristine Howard, a Casework Specialist with the Chester County Department of Children, defeated six-term incumbent state Rep. Duane Milne (R-Chester) 52-to-48.

HD177: Democrat Joe Hohenstein beat Republican Patty-Pat Kozlowski for the open seat in Philadelphia. Hohenstein will succeed Rep. John Taylor, Philadelphia’s most powerful Republican, who is retiring after 34 years.

HD178: State Rep. Helen Tai (D) lost a close rematch against Republican Wendi Thomas by about 1 point. Tai defeated Thomas in a May special election in Bucks County.

November 7th, 2018 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 22 Comments

22 thoughts on “Dems Net 11 State House Seats”

  1. Lew Stoulles says:

    The results are no doubt some sort of half-baked protest vote against the President and his twitter account, bolstered by infrequent voters roused by the media. The funny thing is that none of the elected Democrats in the State House or State Senate have any intention of moderating their left wing views, and will do what Democrats always seem to do with power. It will take some time for the electorate to digest and eliminate them, but this is an inevitability.

  2. ZAKREY BISSELL says:

    WHEN STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAN MILLER WINS GUY RESCHENTHALER’S STATE SENATE SEAT IN 2019 DO YOU GUYS THINK FOR THE REPUBLICANS WILL WIN DAN MILLER’S STATE REPRESENTATIVE SEAT IN A SPECIAL ELECTION OR NOT.

    1. ZAKREY BISSELL says:

      NEVER MIND, I AM RUUNNING FOR THATS SEAT.

  3. KDav says:

    Brown was also reelected in OH. But I don’t want to intrude on your fantasy because I pray you will run Trumpers everywhere so, yes, Val sucked! Not Trump. Not our man Wags or Lou!

    Whoever, you are I support you taking control of the GOP in PA.

  4. embarrassed GOP member says:

    Val Digiorgio gets what he deserves. He is doing a horrendous job and all the sheep the voted for him should step down too. What a bunch of clowns the GOP and the committee people are.

  5. Independent for now says:

    The Chester County blue wave was fueled in part by outrage at the way GOP leadership shut down bills wanted by a majority across the state – including many moderate and SE PA GOP voters – and by the unbridgeable gulf between intelligent, educated constitutionalists and petty dictators like Trump, Turzai and Metcalfe.
    If the goal is to create a party of know-nothings, the PA GOP is well on the way.
    Ignoring SE PA GOP objections to misguided leadership will fuel future blue waves. I know quite a few Rs who had never voted D before who voted straight ticket D yesterday in protest. If PA had open primaries there would be an immediate and striking defection in R party registration.

    1. KDav says:

      I am one. Until 12, I was a straight R ticket voter. What started to bother me was how Romney was treated in the primaries. It is those people and some Dems who didnt want to be part of that party anymore because of race who became the base of Trumpers. Even in 16, I split my ticket which was a huge mistake. The last 2 years have been straight D and I don’t see that changing to be honest. They put a maniac in office. My wife feels the same. We are in chesco and highly representative of the types of voters the GOP have lost.

      1. Lew Stoulles says:

        Wow! Your protest votes for Democrats because – I don’t know – Republicans nominated Romney but were mean to him in the primary or something seem to have done much to improve the national GOP, haven’t they?

  6. john says:

    state republican party is a joke. lost supreme court, endorsed governor candidate lost by ivan itkin margins, never supported Lou and let casey win a THIRD term. Four congressional seats gone. state house majority cut. once a red state, now blue. you did more to make it that way than Ed Rendell. Thanks Val.

    1. KDav says:

      Yep. All Val’s fault. 100%. heh

  7. Not sure says:

    How about Charlton? Other source have a different result.

  8. Ches-Mont Dem says:

    The article is wrong. Tim Hennessey won re-election.

  9. Time to go says:

    Chester county also decimated. Val needs to go.

  10. Not sure says:

    Is this article accurate? Some results contradict reported totals on other county/state websites. In at least one race the percentage is the inverse on those other sites.

  11. Times Up says:

    Val split his time well. He worked really hard to help Scott Wagner and Lou Barletta lose by record margins even while in neighboring states, including Ohio, Massachusetts and Maryland the GOP won statewide elections. We weren’t even close in those races and it cost us seats. Then he went to Chester and helped orchestrate the gutting of the state legislative delegation there. Impressive stuff. This guy is a disaster. Makes the wrong move every time and is incredibly arrogant. I hear Andy Reilly and Ted Christian are already organizing campaigns for State Chairman. Not sure if that would be better, but at this point anything different is better.

    1. KDav says:

      Putting too much blame on Val. Last nights vote in Chesco and Delco was about Trump. Barletta and Wagner made things worse for the GOP but the cake was baked. I know the R’s will not learn from this. I expect them to run total Trumpers in Chesco and Delco in 20.

      If this had been a wave, the D’s could have picked up another 3 in the US House and 4 or 5 more in the state races.

      1. Tattler says:

        Rob Brooks get off Politics PA, the adults are talking.

      2. Times Up says:

        Funny how Trump didn’t sink the ticket in Bucks County. Or Maryland, or Ohio, or in other midwestern states. Val pushed through Wagner when Mango would have kept it closer. Val was responsible for the Rick Saccone disaster. He just keeps losing.

        Considering the results, we need a change in leadership at the PAGOP. I think we should let Bob Brobson have a chance. He was fair and had ideas to move us forward. I would be for him or Ted Christian or Mike Baker. I also think we should bring Jerry Morgan back to the PAGOP. Jerry got things done.

        1. KDav says:

          The Dems chose the wrong candidate for PA 1. Still, it was close. As for OH, it is more favorable to Trump. PA isn’t. Still, it was not a sweep in OH. MD is a very blue state with a R who is extremely moderate and never talks about Trump.

          Now, go back to fighting your own party. I will sit back and laugh. PLEASE run Trumpers everywhere! Embrace him. PA 6 will definitely flip!

          1. Lew Stoulles says:

            The Dems chose a candidate for PA1 who didn’t differ in any substantive way from their candidates in Chesco and Delco. Perhaps his parachuting in from out of the country was more obviously cynical, but still.

            From your comments you don’t seem to understand that a political party isn’t an organization the purpose of which is to cater in every way to your particular tastes and preferences, but rather a coalition of voters who agree more than they disagree with regard to policies they’d like to see implemented. It is, in essence, a large vehicle for compromise. In 2012, future “Trumpers” in the GOP supported Romney when he became the general election candidate (after, you will recall, seeking out Trump’s endorsement), but when the general election candidate is someone who offends your petty sensibilities you quit, take your ball, and vote for the adversaries at every turn? It seems you have an outsized opinion of yourself and the efficacy of your views and that you are constitutionally incapable of being part of a winning electoral coalition. Perhaps a bit of humility and effort to see the good in your fellow man despite how the media poisons you against him would go a long way in your life.

        2. KDav says:

          MD – State Senate – 33 D’s , State House 88-27 D to R

          Funny how facts work. I know you Trumpers don’t like that.

  12. Not me says:

    Val, it’s time to step down. Chesco lost their entire delegation because you’re splitting your time between the state and the county. Blue blood bath.

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